Psalm 1: 1-3
1 BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.
2 But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.
3 And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].
I was going through this scripture and God opened up my eyes to three truths about leading a holy life;
Negatively: Things to Avoid (1:1)
There are three things the man who is blessed must avoid.
(1) There are three degrees of habit or conduct: walk / stand / sit.
(2) There are three degrees of openness, fellowship, or involvement in evil: counsel / path / seat.
(3) There are three degrees of evil that result: wicked / sinners / scoffers.
In each of these there is regression from God’s way and progression into sin and Satan’s way. It warns us how man is prone to turn aside little by little and become more and more entangled in the web of sin. He is easily influenced by the way of the world in its attitudes and actions, for actions follow attitudes.
Let’s look at each of these three negative statements in their three-fold breakdown:
- “Does not walk / in the counsel / of the wicked
“Does not walk.” “Walk” is the Hebrew h`l^K which means to go along with
“In the counsel.” “Counsel” is the Hebrew u@s>h which means, “purpose, plan, resolution of the will,” or “deliberation, viewpoint, way of thinking.” It refers to a mental attitude, a state of mind,
“Of the wicked.” “Wicked” is a Hebrew word (r`sh`u) which has as its root idea, “to be loose, unstable.” This word carries two ideas. First, It means immoral and without godly restraint or controls. It also means ungodly. It refers to those who are guided and controlled by their own desires, emotions, impulses of the mind and flesh rather than by the Word and the Holy Spirit.
- “Nor stand / in the path / of sinners”
“Stand” is the Hebrew u`m~D. It means “to stop, to be firm.” It connotes movement toward the formation of habits or patterns.
“In the path.” “Path” is the Hebrew word D#r#K and means, “a way, course of action, journey, manner, work.” It refers to one’s conduct, behavior patterns, habits and responses. Here we see patterns forming and becoming entrenched. From thinking like the world we begin to act like the world.
“Of sinners.” “Sinners” is the Hebrew j^ff`a. It was an archery term and meant “to fall short, miss the mark.”
- “Nor sit / in the seat / of the scornful”
“Nor sit.” Literally this can be translated, “in the seat of scorners, he has not sat.” “Sit” is the Hebrew word y`sh~B meaning “to sit, dwell, remain, abide.” It emphasizes a thoroughly settled state or condition—settled down, comfortable, content with the world with its patterns entrenched in our lives. I’m afraid this is the state of the majority—even of the majority of the church. materialistic, earthly-oriented, living as earthdwellers and not sojourners.
“In the seat.” “Seat” is the Hebrew word mosh`B. It means: (a) a seat, a place of sitting, or (b) an assembly where many are gathered together to sit and make deals or have close associations. The point is, when you sit in someone’s seat, according to the idiom, you act like or become what they are. You are viewed as in a confederacy with them.
“Of scoffers.” “Scoffers” is the Hebrew word l’s. It means “to mock, deride, ridicule, scoff.” Grammatically, it is a participle of habitual action. It refers to one who is actively engaged in putting down the things of God and His Word. But please note that scoffing can occur by declaration of words or by declaration of a way of life that scorns the moral absolutes of Scripture and its way of life.
From this retrogressive process, it is easy to see that people simply do not remain passive about God. We can’t. Passivity toward God and His Word leads to activity in sin and finally to overt activity against God. That is a law of life.
How do people scoff at the Word of God?
(a) By blatant ridicule or rejection. But there are other ways.
(b) By indifference. We think we have better things to do with our time.
(c) By substituting one’s own ideas, experiences, emotions, feelings, or traditions for the Word and its principles.
(d) By listening to the Word proclaimed, but then ignoring it. In essence we scoff at the Word when we fail to obey it and order our lives accordingly (cf. Prov. 1:22 with 29-33).
These verses pose a warning to us. They teach us how little by little we can step out of the place of blessedness and into the place of misery and cursing with horrible consequences.
First, we can begin to think with the viewpoint of the wicked. Compare Lot in Genesis 13:10f. He chose according to the viewpoint of the wicked.
Then we can quite naturally begin to behave like sinners, acting more and more like the world. Compare Lot in Genesis 13:11. He “journeyed eastward,” walking in the way of sinners.
We can then too easily become an associate of those who scoff at God’s plan and ignore His counsel. Again compare Lot in Genesis 13:12-13; 19:1.
Note how these three verses in Ephesians parallel Psalm 1:1:
17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;Nor stand in the path of sinners,
19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
So, how can we avoid this? this will be on our part II teaching in Leading a Blessed Life
Love you all